If you tune in tonight to TBS for Cedric The Entertainer's Urban Circus, then you'll probably wonder what in the world is going on when Cedric is shooing kids away from a picnic table, only to turn around and find Jerry Seinfeld amble onstage.
Seinfeld, for his part, quips on the special: "I am urban. I was born in Brooklyn." He shares some very old jokes of his, then joins Cedric to re-enact his old bit about driving a space shuttle to the Moon (as pictured above).
What about the rest of the special, you ask?
For its second year in the Second City, Just For Laughs Chicago is bringing back Ellen DeGeneres for another TV variety show, recording a special with Cedric The Entertainer, and welcoming Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" tour, a Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton, and a daytime sketch show for kids produced by Bob and Naomi Odenkirk.
There's much more to come for the Just For Laughs Chicago 2010 schedule, happening in various theaters and clubs around the city from June 15-19, 2010, including a third TV special to be announced later.
But here is the initial slate of headlining acts. Tickets for all shows go on sale March 29.
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen’s Somewhat Special – Wednesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. (Taped for TBS)
Cedric The Entertainer’s Urban Circus (working title) – Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Featuring comedians, sketches, music and more. (Taped for TBS)
The Rescue Me Comedy Tour with Denis Leary – Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
Featuring Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and music with The Enablers and the Rehab Horns. Portion of the proceeds benefits the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Russell Peters - The Green Card Tour - Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
THE VIC THEATRE
Aziz Ansari – The Dangerously Delicious Tour – Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
The Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton – Friday, June 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Lucha VaVOOM – Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 21+ only show
Featuring Mexican masked wrestling and not-so masked burlesque.
The Not Inappropriate Show – Friday, June 18, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Made especially for kids ages 6 and up, this sketch comedy show stars Bob Odenkirk and Kate Micucci, along with some of Los Angeles’ hottest sketch performers. The show, which is being produced by Naomi Odenkirk, will feature a collection of specially chosen sketches and songs designed for kids who love great comedy.
A funny story showed up in the Canadian Press this afternoon. Turns out a reporter was following Russell Peters on Twitter and decided his afternoon complaint about not being part of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver was news, because, well, Peters grew up in the Canadian part of Canada and is one of the nation's most popular stand-up comedians.
What Russell Peters wrote on Twitter: "Hey Canada, I'm not bitter but... It would have been nice to have been asked to do something for the Olympics... I'm just saying."
The CP story noted that Peters earned more than $10 million last year, selling out arenas, and that he has worked with CTV before. Oh, and they also described his comedy in one sentence: "Peters is known for riffing on racial and cultural stereotypes."
Oh, right. Racial and cultural stereotypes. When I think of the Olympic spirit and bringing the world's many diverse cultures and beliefs together, I think that the best person to entertain them is a guy who points out their differences. "Hey, Spain. Why do you all sound so gay? Where's my Chinese delegation at? You people sound so funny when you talk, I don't know whether you're asking me a question or telling me your life story?" I know. I know. I'm paraphrasing. Here was Russell Peters himself on Lopez Tonight last week:
Of course, Peters is very popular. Did I mention the part where he earned millions of dollars performing for all of those people? He sold out NYC's Radio City Music Hall recently, where the Wall Street Journal asked Peters about his racially-charged act. His defense?
“Racist is I hate you for being you. Racial is I’m talking about different races and I’m talking about them from an educated, respectful point of view,” he said. “I make it look like the person I’m talking about is the victim, but when you listen to the joke, you realize, ‘Oh wait a minute, they’re not the victim, they’re the winner of this joke.’”
See, you guys? He doesn't hate you, he just thinks what makes you different is funny, especially since he makes fun of many different nationalities, including his own. Give this guy a gold medal! "I get more people saying why don't you make fun of us?" You hear that, International Olympic Committee? Why haven't you asked Russell Peters over to Vancouver to make fun of all of the nationalities competing there? He's bringing us all together...through comedy!
As I sit here, living off of the boissons gratis of the 24-hour Subway restaurant and paying for temporary WiFi access in Montreal's Trudeau airport terminal, I realize that my initial plan to bring you a full slate of reviews from Montreal's Just For Laughs festival today might not come to fruition. Something about spending most of the afternoon trying to get a flight to New York City, then boarding a flight that takes off, and almost makes it there only to circle back and land in Canada, forcing you and your fellow passengers to pass through Customs even though you just left (the Customs agent had a quizzical view of the situation, as well), then spending the rest of the evening and into the morning hoping that the skies have cleared and airports reopened -- it all leaves me tres fatigue, as the French write. At least for a few hours, though, I was sitting in a chair in the sky!
With that nod to Louis CK, who put on two of the best shows (and hottest tickets) during the fest, I do want to share some initial thoughts about Montreal's annual celebration of comedy, and how it fared this summer. More in-depth reviews of the shows I saw will get published once I'm back home in New York City, to be sure. But first, a few thoughts, opinions and ideas to get you thinking about -- and hopefully talking about -- comedy.
The folks in Montreal have begun rolling out some news and information about its 2009 Just For Laughs comedy festival, and this is what we know already: Bill Cosby will headline, as will Irishman Tommy Tiernan; Canadian native Russell Peters will celebrate his 20th year in stand-up comedy with a special show; John Cleese and Lewis Black will host Galas (filmed-for-TV showcases); Bobby Slayton will host The Nasty Show, and there will be a second annual ladies version of it. You can now go back to whatever you were doing.
Sorry for only catching word of this now, but Showtime is in the middle of taping six new comedy specials in Southern California as part of the LOL Comedy Festival. Three specials taped on Sunday, another three on Monday; all in Los Angeles. Here are the details:
Hot Tamales: Kiki Melendez hosts, with Amy Anderson, Nikki Payne, Jill Michele Melean, Kira Soltanovich, Nadine Rajabi, Thea Vidale, and Valentino.
The Indian Slam includes Charlie Hill, plus Larry Omaha, Howie Miller, and others.
Also last night: Angelo Tsarouchas
For Monday, the program begins with Slanted Comedy, hosted by Edwin San Juan and featuring Paul Ogata, Joey Guila, Bernadette Galatas, Ron Josol, Dan Gabriel.
Russell Peters hosts his own special Monday with appearances by Ruben Paul, Jason Rouse, Tom Segura and Paul Varghese.
Pauly Shore also hosts a taping Monday with Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger, Carl LaBove, Sammy Shore and Steve Rannazzisi.
Over the weekend in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada's The Comedy Network handed out the Canadian Comedy Awards, and the Beaver winners (yep, they call them thar comedy awards the Beavers!) were...
Pretty Funny Comic of the Year, large venue: Russell Peters
Pretty Funny Stand-Up, Male: Gerry Dee
Pretty Funny Stand-Up, Female: Nikki Payne
Pretty Funny Stand-Up, Newcomer: Peter Anthony
This is our neighbor to the north's ninth time rewarding comedians with awards. Remember when the United States did this with the American Comedy Awards? In fact, some stand-up comedians still use these old honors in their main credits. It has been several years since the comedy business in the Lower 48 (a Palin reference here? really? c'mon now) attempted to honor its own so publicly. Should we do it again? Is there a quantifiable worth to saying one comedian stood out in 2008 as the best club comic, this performer as the best theater comic, that one (hey now! even timelier reference!) as the best comedian on TV or film? If so, then what is Comedy Central waiting for? Or should someone else take up the charge? And if I were to hand out awards at the end of the year, would I, could I, should I call them The ComComs?! The ComComComs? Discuss, please.
The rest of the 2008 Canadian Comedy Award winners listed after the jump.
Anyone who doubted whether TBS could or would pull together a full slate of A-level comedy talent for its first edition of The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas without HBO as a partner, well doubt no more. Over the weekend, TBS unveiled its first look at the official schedule for Nov. 20-22 at Caesars Palace, which includes Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Jim Breuer, Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Norton, a roast of Cheech and Chong, David Alan Grier, Jeff Dunham, Laffapalooza hosted by Tracy Morgan, Andrew Dice Clay, Mike Epps, John Oliver, and Caliente Comedy with Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson. The network also says it'll have 25 up-and-coming stand-up and sketch acts performing in a separate LOL Lounge. Full sked after the jump!
Sometimes, the main difference between stand-up comedy on HBO and stand-up comedy on Showtime seems to be that HBO lets you know it's coming. Their promotional efforts are everywhere. Showtime, you blink, you may miss it. Which is my way of saying a new comedy showcase began last week on Showtime called Comics Without Borders, hosted by Russell Peters. With Peters attached, the first instinct is to think this will feature an array of comics from other lands to get their proper introduction to American audiences. But the show takes the other interpretation, that here, the comedy can and will go anywhere. No borders.
On last week's debut (available On Demand), Peters told the audience at El Portal in Hollywood that his show will put a spotlight on comedians who need to be on TV more, regardless of their past experience. Unlike other half-hour comedy showcases, Comics Without Borders actually gives each stand-up enough time for audiences (both live and at home) to get to know them, preceded by a minute or two backstage introduction in which the comic just talks. In other words, two comics per half-hour instead of three, four or sometimes even five. In the debut: Justin Worsham from Modesto, Calif., and Dean Edwards from Brooklyn, NY. For Worsham, this was his TV debut, and he joked about babies, what parents do to their toddlers, and how he and his wife interact and sleep. Edwards had a short stint on SNL. In his return to television, he didn't mind dishing on the differences between Eddie Murphy and his brother, Charlie, poking fun at Charlie's need to share "true Hollywood stories," as well as impersonations of Jay-Z and Denzel Washington. Almost to remind you that SNL could've used him better when they had him (or take him back if they'd like).
Comics Without Borders airs at 10 p.m. Thursdays on Showtime.
With festivals on the brain, time to check in and see what TBS has in store for the 2008 version of The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, going it alone this November since HBO seemingly got out of the comedy confab business (still listed down low on the site as a sponsor, though). They'd already announced that Ellen DeGeneres would return with another variety TV broadcast at Caesars Palace, and now we see they're bringing Jerry Seinfeld back, too, with other headlining slots going to Mike Epps, David Alan Grier, Russell Peters, Andrew Dice Clay and Tracy Morgan. Tickets go on sale Sept. 26. More info to come...